04/20/2017 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 04/21/2017 08:00
NEWARK, N.J. - A Paterson, New Jersey, man appeared in federal court today to face charges that he attempted to rob a Paterson residence while dressed in a Passaic County Sheriff's uniform and wielding a firearm, Acting U.S. Attorney William E. Fitzpatrick announced.
Jason Thompson, 34, complaint in is charged by indictment with one count of conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery, one count of attempted Hobbs Act robbery, one count of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence, and one count of possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. Thompson was arraigned this morning before U.S. District Judge Claire C. Cecchi in Newark federal court.
According to documents filed in this case and statements made in court:
On Aug. 12, 2015 at around 7:00 a.m., Thompson and Clemente Carlos, 30, of Newark, New Jersey - while dressed in Passaic County Sherriff's uniforms - accosted a female victim and her infant as the victim was leaving her residence in Paterson. The two men posed as law enforcement officers and led the victim back into her apartment inside the residence.
Once inside, Thompson allegedly removed a firearm from a sidearm holster and pointed it at the victim's brother, who had been sleeping inside the apartment. Thompson then used a zip-tie to restrain the man's hands behind his back and instructed him to kneel on the floor. After searching the apartment and failing to find the money they were looking for, Thompson and Carlos left the residence.
Law enforcement officers arrested Thompson outside his Paterson residence on Dec. 2, 2015. During a subsequent search of the residence, officers recovered a loaded revolver handgun from Thompson's bedroom.
On Dec. 1, 2016, Carlos appeared before Judge Cecchi and pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiracy to commit Hobbs Act robbery. Carlos is scheduled to be sentenced on May 2, 2017.
The Hobbs Act conspiracy charge and the attempted Hobbs Act robbery each carry a statutory maximum sentence of 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine, or twice the gain or loss from the offense. The charge of brandishing a firearm during a crime of violence carries a mandatory minimum sentence of seven years in prison and a maximum sentence of life in prison. The charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.
The charges and allegations in the indictment are merely accusations, and Thompson is presumed innocent unless and until proven guilty.
Acting U.S. Attorney Fitzpatrick credited special agents of the FBI, under the direction of Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher in Newark, and members of the Passaic County Prosecutor's Office, under the direction of Prosecutor Camelia M. Valdes, with the investigation leading to today's charges. He also thanked the Passaic County Sheriff's Office and the Paterson Police Department for their assistance.
The government is represented by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamari Buxton of the U.S. Attorney's Organized Crime/Gangs Unit in Newark.
Defense counsel: Michael Pedicini Esq., Chatham